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nurse tree choice - help in finding out more please  RSS feed

 
Posts: 72
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I recently watched the Suzanne Simard  TED talk How Trees Talk To Each Other - on the micorrhizal connections between trees. A fascinating subject and I want to find out more but I'm not managing to find any leads. Any pointers would be gratefully received. search terms of mother/nurse/hub tree are just too open.
I have questions like why was she not surprised that the cedar was not involved in the carbon sharing. Why conifer and deciduous ? I thought i'd read that coniferous prefer a very high fungally dominant soil and deciduous a much more even bacteria : fungus biomass ratio. How can I make educated choices of nurse trees?
The whole soil food web is wonderful and I'd like to apply this understanding to my forest garden growing.

Thanks
 
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cesca beamish wrote:I recently watched the Suzanne Simard  TED talk How Trees Talk To Each Other - on the micorrhizal connections between trees. A fascinating subject and I want to find out more but I'm not managing to find any leads. Any pointers would be gratefully received. search terms of mother/nurse/hub tree are just too open.
I have questions like why was she not surprised that the cedar was not involved in the carbon sharing. Why conifer and deciduous ? I thought i'd read that coniferous prefer a very high fungally dominant soil and deciduous a much more even bacteria : fungus biomass ratio. How can I make educated choices of nurse trees?
The whole soil food web is wonderful and I'd like to apply this understanding to my forest garden growing.

Thanks



Well if Ms. Simard said that about conifers and deciduous trees, she got them backwards, Conifers lean towards the heavy bacterial side and Deciduous are fungal, especially micorrhizal fungi oriented. 
If you want to locate such specialty oriented papers you need to be looking at Universities websites, in the research portion of Biology/ Horticulture divisions, scientific papers are not usually easy to google, they are written for scientist to read more often than for lay people.
Scientific American, Journal of Horticulture, Journal of Microbiology, Academia.edu,  and other similar places are where you want to do your searching to find out such scientific papers. (most will be pay to view the whole paper).

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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For the tree communication part of your question, the answer is "we* are just learning now the intricacies of plants communicating with other plants and the soil microbiome".
There is quite a lot of experimenting yet to get started to arrive at some of the answers, this is something we all are thinking of as "In its infant stage", so much has to be done to come up with an experiment that can produce reproducible results, it can take up to a year just to get a study off and running, then you have at least a year of data collection followed by calculations so that you can come up with the probable relationships and methods of communication, which are all chemical and electrical by the way.

What we do know is that plants secrete sugars (mostly complex but some are simple) that bacteria come to feed on, we also know that there are some electrical signals that accompany the secretion of these exudates.
The electrical signals are either positive charged or negative charged, each calls out to different bacteria as well as alerting fungi, amoeba, nematodes, flagellates, and other organisms of the microbiome that live in and create the soil complex.
As these organisms react to the signals and food exudates they communicate with electrical charges and chemical secretions to each other at the same time, this sets up the chain reaction of bacteria eating the exudates, the fungi, amoeba, flagellates and nematodes all join the "feeding frenzy" that results in the nutrients the plant needed and called for to become available, all the excess nutrient is then re ingested by the microorganisms and thus is ready for a new call from the plants. Some fungi live in close contact with the root systems, others actually invade the root cells, fungi will also engulf those nematodes and flagellates that could be considered predatory or parasitic, thus rendering them into food for the fungi, this also releases nutrients that the bacteria will gobble up and hold within their structure with any excesses put back out for other bacteria to consume.

It is currently thought that it is mycorrhizal fungi that help pass signals from plant to plant just as they provide nutrients to their host root, these have the capability to pass along electrically charged ions, passing them from one host root to another.
It should be mentioned here that these fungi hyphae can be multiple host (plant) with one end around or inside one trees root system and the other end functioning the same way in another trees root system thus if one tree sends an electrical or chemical signal it will almost immediately be picked up by any other tree serviced by another part of the hyphae complex of that fungi.

* the biology and horticultural scientific community.

Redhawk
 
cesca beamish
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thanks very much Redhawk.
 
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It kinda depends on what region of the world you are in. Here in the Pacific Northwest in the United States our conifer forests have been shown to be heavily reliant on the fungal networks that exist in healthy forests. The Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon has done great research into these interactions. If you are interested in learning about this relationship I would recommend going to the Andrews website and reading some of their research. The research covers a wide range of topics so you would need to specifically look for the articles about the fungal networks.

For a bit easier read but less in depth I would recommend looking up this book: The Hidden Forest. Fairly easy reading and is meant for the average reader but it covers a lot of the research coming out of the Andrews site but a bit out of date now. Parts of it talk about the fungal networks in the Pacific Northwest conifer forests.
 
cesca beamish
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Lovely thank you. Book ordered. Going for the 'bit easier read' first!
 
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I am doing the stupid guy's version, which is modified from the Bullock brothers. I plant everything with a nurse tree, and scientifically I choose them by what I can get cheap or seed. I think much of this research is hard to translate to different climates- it may not be plug and play as the tree species and fungi are different. Hence the specific interactions are possibly quite different.

My idea is that some pairings will thrive, some will not, and I an others locally can observe and learn. I love the Bullocks' idea. If at all possible I look at local patterns in the woods and see what I can recapitulate, but many plants I am starting don't have local analogues.

Mostly each boss tree gets a legume buddy and an understory plant. I have a nerdy planting map that hopefully allows me to map growth rates (although I have been lazy in updating and have to figure out how to take into account the rate of nonsurvival).

My boss trees are varied, but the legumes are basically from about ten local varieties. None are over a dollar or are from seed, and none get any special treatment. The understory trees are either productive or good biomass plants. Or something cheap or free.
 
cesca beamish
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Yes I like that method and I'm hoping to learn from other folks doing before as well as my specific climate/soil/tree choice. I have shallow, gravelly, artificially made-up 'soil' that I have been mulching fanatically and planting trees.

Found another book that is a very interesting read about the 'communication' of trees :

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben


 
I will suppress my every urge. But not this shameless plug:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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